Thigh muscles are developing nicely with plenty of extreme hill training. An all night deluge finally abated in time for a late start from Opotiki, heading east along the cape. With overnight stops at Te Kaha, Te Araroa, Tokomaru Bay, and after a half day, Tolaga Bay, our East Cape adventure has so far covered a distance of 180 miles.
With stunning coastal bays, long beaches, twisting roads up into inland forests; grazing sheep and cattle, kiwi fruit orchards and river valleys with fields of maize in full flower, it is impossible to pick out a highlight. This region is very sparsely populated.What little traffic there is tends to be tourists in cars or motor homes, Kiwis taking motor boats to one of the great beaches or double bedded logging trucks hauling their bounty off for shipping to China. The truck drivers are, thankfully, extremely courteous.
My wish to stay on a farm was granted at Tokomoro Bay, where after a gruelling 57 mile ride, there was no room at the Inn. Fortunately, the Landlady arranged for us to rent a self catering unit, albeit at the top of a, get off and push hill. She even delivered Gavin and Keith’s beer and put it in the fridge!! Just wish I had accepted her offer to take our panniers. The view over the Bay, from this vantage point, defied superlatives. Not a cow or sheep in sight though, this was a Goldfish farm, tens of thousands of varying size and species.
Our very kind but talkative host drove us, barefoot, in his very old and junk filled car to the Inn for our supper and then returned to take us back again. People are so friendly and helpful here.
Signs along the road display a telephone number to invite drivers to report ‘wandering stock’. There was nothing wandering about a young grey horse that jumped out right in front of Gavin today then galloped up the road, frantically seeking refuge. The poor thing, finally escaped an on-coming logging truck by clearing a five bar gate with some margin.
Keith caused some consternation this morning, flagging us down to witness him undertake a Haka worthy of the All Blacks. Thankfully, he had not taken leave of his senses, but was celebrating his current cycle odometer resetting itself to zero having cycled 100,000 kilometres (62,500 miles)!!